TheCable, Nigeria’s leading online newspaper, is set to launch an application that will make the news accessible for persons living with disabilities (PLWD).
The disability inclusive news app (DINA) will be launched on Tuesday, May 9 as part of activities to mark the newspaper’s ninth anniversary.
The DINA project, regarded as Nigeria’s first disability-friendly news app, was selected as one of the winners of the 2022 Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge.
The app built in partnership with Project Enable Africa, a leading disability inclusion hub, will include assistive features to ensure persons with visual impairment, auditory challenges, and some limb challenges get access to the news with ease.
DINA also seeks to safeguard PLWDs from fake news and misinformation through Cable Check — the fact check arm of TheCable.
INCLUSION IN ACTIONS AND NOT WORDS
Simon Kolawole, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of TheCable, said the app would fit in with the evolution the world is experiencing.
“This disability-friendly app is apparently the first of its kind in Nigeria. TheCable set out to deliver knowledge-driven journalism in pursuit of Nigeria’s progress. This is yet another step in that direction. The human society is changing fast and we cannot afford to be left behind,” he said.
“Gone are the days when Nigeria was frozen in time, when social inclusion was treated as an alien concept. With this app, which we developed with support from Google, we will make news and views available to the visually impaired and people with auditory challenges. They will no longer be left behind. Hopefully, we are setting a good example.”
Kolawole urged media houses to prioritise inclusion not just in words but also in deeds, acknowledging that joint efforts were necessary to achieve full impact.
He also thanked the DINA team for their vision and relentlessness to deliver on the app’s goals and objectives.
“I must acknowledge and appreciate the vision and commitment of my colleagues who worked on this project day and night to deliver it,” Kolawole said.
Mayowa Tijani, DINA project coordinator, said the app is the newspaper’s commitment to promoting inclusion across all spheres in the country.
He said the project aligns with Nigeria’s Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2019 and shows TheCable’s interest in pursuing progress.
“We are grateful to be opening another chapter in Nigeria’s media ecosystem. This app has been in the works for well over a year, and when the right support came along, it made our work a lot easier,” Tijani said.
“The media unconsciously leaves a lot of people behind, a lot of persons with disability. This is our commitment to leave no one behind, and we hope other key players in the media industry in Nigeria will join us in working towards a future that truly leaves no one behind.
Kolapo Olapoju, editor of TheCable and project lead, described the innovation as “a step towards contributing to the development of underserved groups and communities as well as ensuring that inclusivity is not just another catchphrase without actionable steps”.
“At TheCable, we are constantly working on ways to make the news more accessible and reader-friendly. Beyond the app, TheCable is also working with partners to become a fully inclusive newsroom and organisation,” he added.
Olapoju said the app is just one of the ways TheCable seeks to “carry everyone along” and advance digital journalism in Africa.